At your first audiology appointment, the hearing health care provider will want to get a case history from you. This will include any relevant medical history, any recent complaints and symptoms you’ve had, and anything related to your symptoms. You should consider taking a close friend or family member with you to the appointment, as some audiologists use tests that involve hearing a familiar voice and testing your hearing with that medium.
It also helps to have someone else present to help you communicate with the audiologist and to help remember and write down information. He will then want to run a few tests. Audiologists do three main types of tests, depending on the purpose of your visit and the case history taken all or part of these tests will be completed:
Otoscopy: The audiologist will look in your ear canal with an ‘otoscope’ and magnifying pen light. They will be checking for ear wax, blockages, or any problems with your ear canal or ear drum.
Tympanometry: This will test your middle ear function. The audiologist will be looking to see how well your ear drum responds to light pressure. The test can detect anything that would inhibit motion of the eardrum like fluid, infection, or eustachian tube dysfunction.
Audiometry: This test really consists of two types of tests: air conduction and bone conduction testing. You will be in a soundproof booth or room and will be asked to raise your hand or push a button when you hear sounds. Air conduction determines the softest sound you can hear through earphones at several different pitches. Bone conduction determines the softest sound you can hear by stimulating the inner ear directly (through a bone vibrator that is placed behind the ear).
Don’t Worry: None of these tests should be too uncomfortable and they shouldn’t be painful at all. After the test is performed, the audiologist will spend time explaining the results to you and what further services or referrals he recommends.
Depending on your audiologist’s finding, they may make referrals to other specialists. If your Hearing Health Professional believes that other medical issues need to be ruled out as the cause of hearing loss or balance disorders, you may be referred to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor). They may also recommend hearing aids or devices.